Pitman and Turlock varsity girls soccer were in the top three in the Central California Conference heading into Saturday's crosstown meeting and each were looking to make a statement with a win after ending in a draw in their first meeting back on April 5.
Pitman’s Rayana Plancarte had two assists on both scores against Turlock at Joe Debely, and saw multiple opportunities throughout the game in another strong effort. Turlock is heavy with underclassmen and on Saturday saw starting goalkeeper Jadyn Tubbs out for the rivalry.
Although young, the Bulldog team didn't look like a young group especially after going up as early as the 16th minute with a goal, but the Pride's late push that saw them score two unanswered was enough to top Turlock 2-1 for their third straight win.
“It was a beautiful game... I mean crosstown rivals coming down till the end... we saw an opportunity at the end, but they did as well,” said Turlock coach Temo Arteaga. “Their [Pitman] defense was sharp, this is why they are in second place so far because they work so hard and finish opportunities.”
After Saturday's game, the Pride improved to 5-0-4, solidifying a second place posting behind Merced. Turlock drops to 4-3-2.
“We have had a lot of injuries but the girls have played with a lot of heart and I think they have pushed through that and are learning to work together now,” said Pitman coach Annabel Perez. “We also seem to have no negativity on this team, so I think them coming together as one is a big thing as we saw.”
After Sophie Warda scored for Turlock, the Pride evened it out just a minute after at the 17 minute mark with a Tanner Brackett goal and both sides went into halftime even at 1-1, same score as their first meeting of the year.
“In the second half we looked to put more pressure up top, we wanted more speed up there to get more shots off so we put Ray [Plancarte] there and I think it helped put more pressure,” said Perez. “And we moved them around and found their weak spots and exposed them well.”
It took all but three minutes for Plancarte to create an opportunity off a nice touch, shooting at the crossbar from the top corner of 20 yards.
Then about two minutes after, Plancarte once again saw a double team approaching and let go of a ball, placing a near perfect cross to freshman star Isabella Shallou-Enes inside the penalty area. Shallou-Enes then took the ball in the far corner from 12 yards out, zipping it past backup Turlock keeper Megan Drew.
“I think the girls played with some of the most heart I have ever seen them... they played together,” said Perez. “They communicated well and I think they dominated the middle where we lacked last time, but I think overall they worked well in this game.”
Pitman contained the ball at Turlock's half for the majority of the second half and saw numerous opportunities created by their attack from Brackett, Plancarte and Shallou-Enes.
The Pitman defense was also stingy in the second half, after allowing seven shots from Turlock in the first half, holding their attack to just two shots in the final 40 minutes.
“With that shot from their attack and the back... it was tough but we just need to take advantage and we didn't but it was a well fought game, the girls fought till the end so I couldn't ask anything else,” Arteaga added.